Raw Nettle Pesto

Raw Nettle Pesto

Raw Nettle Pesto

Nettles have tiny hairs on them that contain formic acid.  While harmless, formic acid stings the skin on contact.  For this reason, it is a good idea to handle fresh nettles with gloves, unless you want to be stung…the sting, is harmless, just a bit uncomfortable.  The formic acid is neutralized when the cell wall of the plant is broken through cooking, freezing, drying or thoroughly pureeing.  This last option allows us to make delicious raw nettle pesto!


1/3 cup sunflower seeds

2 packed cups fresh nettle leave

2 cloves garlic (or to taste)

olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper


Toast sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and aromatic, about 4 – 6 minutes.  Let sunflower seeds cool slightly before combining in the food processor with the nettle leaves, garlic, a twist of freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 cup olive oil.  Blend until smooth, adding more olive oil to get desired consistency.  Season to taste with salt.

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